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  • Paraguay's new President Mario Abdo Benitez and Paraguay's First Lady Silvana Lopez Moreira in the Lopez Palace in Asuncion

    Paraguay's new President Mario Abdo Benitez and Paraguay's First Lady Silvana Lopez Moreira in the Lopez Palace in Asuncion | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 August 2018
Opinion

The primary challenge that Benitez will face is to arrive at agreements with the opposition.

Mario Abdo Benitez was sworn in Tuesday morning in Asuncion; the 46-years-old former senator was elected in April with 46 percent of the vote representing the right-wing Colorado Party.

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Abdo Benítez was sworn-in by the president of the Congress, Silvio Ovelar, after the vice president of the country, Hugo Velazquez, took his oath. The ceremony was attended by several foreign dignities, Evo Morales (Bolivia), Mauricio Macri (Argentina), Ivan Duque (Colombia), Tabare Vazquez (Uruguay), Tsai Ing-wen (Taiwán), among others.

"I want to show that my commitment is to the future of the Republic, I come to respect the institutions," said Benitez in a press conference moments before the swearing-in ceremony. 

He is called "Marito," to differentiate himself from his homonym father who was a personal secretary to dictator General Alfredo Stroessner and has a close family relationship with the 35 years United States-backed dictatorship. 

Many political analysts have stated that the dictatorship has been left behind and that most people under 40 don't remember the authoritarian government that disappeared hundreds, detained and tortured over 20,000 persons and forced thousands into exile, according to the Truth and Justice Commission.

The primary challenge that Benitez will face is to arrive at agreements with the opposition. The right-wing Colorado party has only 17 out 45 Senators and 41 out of 80 representatives in the lower chamber, and it's very divided from ideologically internally. The swearing-in ceremony comes amid a week of protests against corruption.

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